Review: This big one from Johnny Osbourne has never, ever, officially been on 7" before now. It comes from a time when roots was at its peak, but dancehall was on the horizon and starting to make an impact. The longing vocals are matched by drawn out slide guitar, distant reggae riffs and a bendy bassline that takes you on a real journey. Roots Radics appear on the flipside with their own take on things with "Dangerous Match Four" before proceeding to serve up an even more horizontal take on the original.
Peter Abdul & The Abeng Musical Box - "Inflation" (2:55)
Russ D In Front Room Studio - "Inflation" (Dubwise) (2:57)
Review: Italian label Dig This Way serves up a third sizzling offering, this time featuring Nigerian singer Peter Abdul. He does his heart aching work over a solid rhythm from Abeng's Musical Box and the results are steeped in romance and yearning. A flip side dub from Russ Disciple is also well worth checking for its smart effects and fathom deep bass. Abdul is a relative unknown but for his 1984 album Get Down With Me, which head in a more boogie and funk direction. Regardless, this is a tasty dub, make no mistake.
Review: The great Reggae deejay and singer, Sandeeno was born in Birmingham, UK but raised in the Jamaican parish of Manchester. Here he steps up for "Giving Thanks & Praises" along with the equally revered Roberto Sanchez on the riddim and dub. This is a big tune with metallic chords hanging in the air over a bubbly, tropical beat that is filled with warmth and soul. The tooting horns bring that chest beating vibe and ensure your audience will be up on their toes. The dub strips things back to focus on the essential drums.
Review: Get yourself onto a higher plane with this classic slice of higher regions roots from 1978. Walyn Rickets is now known as Pacey and back in 1978 when he lay this one down was a man in fine form. "Jah Is My Light" is a joyous ode to Jah, creation and the motherland with sunshine keys and rickety drums that are loose, organic, authentic. The version pulls things apart even more and reconstructs a wobbly dub that will rattle your joints loose. Timeless and warm, these two heaters are perfect material for the high summer.
Review: Studio One have put out plenty of big tunes and this is the latest to get a big reissue on a super loud-cut 12" single for extra devastating impact. It's a well-known classic every self-respecting reggae fan should know and blows up any party, especially when tweaked like these two versions. They were originally produced by Studio One bossman Coxsone Dodd and have been covered by The Clash as well as sampled by The Fugees and hip hop MC KRS One. The snaking lead synth, the rumbling drums and classic ska trumpet are all straight up irresistible.
Review: Kiss, Cuddle & Torture: Volume 2 is the second album offering from The Hempoloics on their own Zee Zee. It's another of their unique collisions of reggae, hip hop, pop, dancehall and funk and comes with plenty of upbeat riddims that will no doubt get as much radio play as previous singles. Showing real development as well as lush chords, masterfully overdubbed keys and complex arrangements that were apparently written by the whole band together, it's another successful record. Check the contemporary flow and funky riffs of "Bongadashi" or more horizontal dub flexes of "In The Night" for highlights.
Review: Four years ago Ethio-jazz elder Mulato Astatke came good on a promise he made way back in 2009 and joined forces with Australian collective Black Jesus experience to record a collaborative album. That album, "Cradle of Humanity", did a good job in fusing traditional Ethiopian songs and musical sounds with heady dancefloor grooves rooted in soul, funk and jazz. "To Know Without Knowing" takes a similar approach, balancing certified dancefloor workouts (see the fiery Ethio-funk-meets-Latin jazz flex of "Mascaram Setaba", bustling "Kulun Mankwaleshi" and breezy soul-jazz number "To Know Without Knowing") with deeper, more downtempo excursions that are every bit as alluring.
Review: Rising Sun from 1986 was something of the start of a new chapter for Augustus Pablo. It was the point at which his Rockers Revolution was eased into he new digital age fo the times. He said himself that the music on the album "mixed up the vibes a little" and touched on a wider array of sounds than usual. There are high quality hot steppers like "Pipers of Zion" next to deep cut and heavy rolling gems like "The Day Before The Riot" while revivalist reggae sounds come to the fore on "African Frontline." Of course, ti was originally recorded at Channel One some comes with plenty of the sonic hallmarks of that legendary studio.
Review: Long running dub dons Nice Up! unveil a brand new talent on their latest: that man is Escape Roots, a Glaswegian producer and Mungo's HiFi's Walk n Skank resident who calls upon vocalist Dandelion to muse on the many different joys of ganga. Riding on classic dancehall rhythms with hooky guitar riffs and tumbling claps, Dandelion touches on toothpaste, butter, soap and the titular Ganga Socks. It's tongue in cheek, head in the clouds stuff that will have you skanking for days. For those who like it more stripped back, flipside "Version" is where it's at.
We Are The Band Of Enlightenment, Reason & Love (instrumental) (4:08)
Review: A few years ago, West African music obsessive and Philophon label boss Max Weissenfeldt decided to make some roots reggae with his friend and fellow drummer Josie Coppola. Yet this would be no regular reggae, as they'd be working on songs by Ghanaian artist Y-Bayani (real name Yusef Hussain). Since then, the project has developed further with the addition of a second lead singer, Baby Naa (Naomi Addy), a clutch of talented musicians and a Ghanaian choir. The result is this debut album, a wonderfully hazy, sun-kissed shuffle that does a brilliant job in putting a new, Afro-centric spin on Jamaican roots reggae. The riddims are strong, the multi-lingual vocals superb, the musicianship spot on and the production authentically warm and weighty. In other words, it's an unlikely gem.
Review: Dub heads will be keen to cop this hard to find, long out of print Winston McAnuff tune 'What A Man Sow.' This is its first time on 7". Only 500 have been pressed and it comes with a full colour sleeve as well as a tasty dub on the flip from Fatman Riddim Section. The main attraction though is the a-side, with its impassion vocals crying out up top and bearing plenty of raw and honest soul. Shakers and swaggering dub, reverberating bass and acoustic guitar riffs all colour in the airwaves in warm and welcoming ways.
Review: This third volume of the Disco Devil Black Ark series pulls together 6 classics from Lee "Scratch" Perry's studio. 4 discomixes and 2 vocal/dub edits - the audio on these tracks has been extensively restored from original pressings yet it allows Perry's bizarre and wonderful tricks and techniques to shine through while maintaining the raw quality that made them so real in the first place. Jamaican roots music that's imbued with plenty of ganja spirit, from tricked out and cosmic to deep and more insular, brought about by one man's brilliant work behind the boards.